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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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First Session of 18th Lok Sabha Begins Today; Oath-Taking Ceremony for Newly-Elected MPs

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First Session of 18th Lok Sabha Begins Today

The inaugural session of the 18th Lok Sabha is set to commence today, marking the beginning of a new parliamentary term following the recent general elections. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) emerged victorious with 293 seats, while the INDIA bloc secured 234 seats, including 99 seats won by the Congress party. The session, anticipated to be contentious, will feature the oath-taking ceremony for the newly-elected Members of Parliament, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

President Droupadi Murmu will administer the oath to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Bhartruhari Mahtab, who has been appointed as the pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Subsequently, Mahtab will invite Prime Minister Modi, the Leader of the Lok Sabha, to take his oath as a member of the House. The election for the Lok Sabha Speaker will take place on June 26, followed by President Murmu’s address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament on June 27.

Meanwhile, newly elected Congress MPs are scheduled to meet at 10 am at the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) office in Parliament today. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have voiced their criticism of the BJP in light of the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG medical entrance examination, expressing solidarity with the affected students. This session is expected to see vigorous debates as the opposition plans to challenge the BJP-led NDA government on several issues.

One major point of contention is the appointment of the pro-tem Speaker. Traditionally, the senior-most member of the House is appointed to this position. However, the decision to appoint BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, a seventh-term MP, has sparked controversy. The opposition claims that Congress member K Suresh, an eighth-term MP and the senior-most member, was overlooked. Congress leader K Suresh argued that this decision deviates from parliamentary tradition and has been widely criticized.

Congress MP Hibi Eden accused the NDA government of violating parliamentary norms and disregarding the Dalit and oppressed communities by bypassing an eight-time Dalit MP from Kerala. Eden emphasized that the senior-most member, regardless of party affiliation, is traditionally appointed as the pro-tem Speaker. The controversy is expected to influence the proceedings, with the opposition raising questions about the fairness and transparency of the appointment process.

President Murmu has also appointed K Suresh, Thalikkottai Rajuthevar Baalu, Radha Mohan Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste, and Sudip Bandyopadhyay to assist the pro-tem Speaker in administering the oath to the newly elected members. This move aims to ensure a smooth and orderly oath-taking process amidst the ongoing tensions.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will run from June 24 to July 3, allowing for the oath/affirmation of the newly elected Members of Parliament. Concurrently, the 264th session of the Rajya Sabha will begin on June 27 and conclude on July 3. The Samajwadi Party has also scheduled a parliamentary meeting for today in Delhi, chaired by the party’s National President Akhilesh Yadav. This meeting is likely to address the party’s strategy for the upcoming parliamentary session and discuss key issues of concern.

The last session of the 17th Lok Sabha, which was the Budget session, was held between January 31 and February 10, 2024. As the new session begins, all eyes will be on the interactions and debates that unfold in the coming days, shaping the legislative agenda and political landscape of the country.

In addition to the procedural and ceremonial aspects of the session, the parliament will also address several critical issues. The controversy surrounding the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG and UGC-NET examinations has already led to public outcry and protests. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have expressed their support for the affected students, calling for accountability and transparency in the examination process.

The government’s response to these allegations and the measures it takes to address the concerns will be closely scrutinized. The newly operationalized Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, which imposes severe penalties for malpractices in competitive examinations, will also be a focal point of discussion. This act aims to curb corruption and ensure the integrity of public examinations.

Moreover, the election of the Lok Sabha Speaker is another significant event in this session. The Speaker plays a crucial role in maintaining order and decorum in the House, facilitating discussions, and ensuring that parliamentary procedures are followed. The choice of Speaker and the subsequent election process will be closely watched, as it will set the tone for the legislative activities of the 18th Lok Sabha.

President Murmu’s address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament on June 27 will outline the government’s legislative agenda and priorities for the upcoming session. This address is expected to cover a wide range of issues, including economic growth, social welfare, national security, and environmental sustainability. The opposition will likely scrutinize and respond to the government’s proposed policies and plans, leading to robust debates and discussions.

As the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha begins, the parliament is poised to address critical issues and set the stage for the country’s legislative and policy direction. The interactions and debates during this session will be instrumental in shaping the political landscape and addressing the pressing concerns of the nation. The active participation of the Members of Parliament, along with the scrutiny and accountability mechanisms in place, will play a vital role in ensuring effective governance and representation of the people’s interests.

With the NDA government facing significant challenges and the opposition gearing up to raise pertinent issues, this session promises to be a pivotal moment in Indian parliamentary history. The decisions made and the discussions held during this period will have far-reaching implications for the country’s future. As the session progresses, the resilience and commitment of the parliamentarians to uphold democratic principles and work towards the nation’s progress will be paramount.

Also read: FLOOD NIGHTMARE IN ASSAM: DEATH TOLL RISES TO 29, THOUSANDS DISPLACED

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